Target Walleye/Ice email

Sprengel is on ’em, High speed line-counters, Summer wingdam tip

Sorry for the late send — had it all teed up to hit before the NWT weigh-in, but the tech gremlins got involved so…have a great weekend and send in some fish pics!

Today’s Top 5

Bruisers of the week!

1.  Lovin’ this shot from Dylan Foui (@king__of__cars__) who’s been catching himself some BIGS casting 5″ Z-Man Jerk Shadz on Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. Said he’s “found bigger plastics have consistently put bigger fish in the boat over the typical salty [frozen shiner].”


2.  Last Mountain Lake, SK fishing guide Layne Maier is back, and they keep getting more bigger-er:

Check out the story of how he put this 32″ bruiser [!!!] topside:

> Layne: “I was cruising down the lake when I noticed a large pack of boats in a favorite spot of mine…I’m not usually one to fish the crowds but I admit my curiosity got the best of me.

> “…deployed my Vantage in the middle of the pack and quickly noticed bait pushed into the 24′ breakline…took less than a minute for my Rapala Jigging Rap to locate this 32″ beauty and the fight was on!

> “It took me in shallow through a mess a boats, then out to deeper water with me in full chase mode trying my best to stay vertical on top of it to keep it pinned. When it hit the net my passenger asked if it was a big one, I replied it’s the biggest one you’ll ever see [LOL]. Quick photo and release, Vantage up and we were on our way to the next spot…only to leave everyone scratching their heads. We ended the day with 8 fish over 28″.”

Absolutely insane…in a reeeeally good way. J-Raps make ’em go crazy:


3.  Awesome bluish colors on this 28-incher caught by Roxane Dupuis:


4.  Jake Billings (@jthooker.outdoors) went out kayak bass fishing after work, and ended up catching his new PB walleye on a Ned-rigged tube! Says he “must’ve laughed for an hour straight after it happened.” Pure happiness right here:


Here’s the hawg-trough angle in case the “fish police” claim he had long arms…


Big congrats, man!

Will the Green Bay NWT be won trolling?

And NOT casting?? Hand-to-hand combat has sorta been the deal on ‘The Bay’ the last few years for the top-finishing pros….

2019 (end of May):

Fish-head John Hoyer won it with 80.33 lbs (10 fish) throwing:

> A 3.3″ Berkley PowerBait Power Swimmer on a 1/2-oz jig. It’s a goby-pattern bait — said he would reel it slow enough where it’s just making contact with the bottom.

> Also caught ’em throwing a DH Custom Baits painted lipless crankbait in “purple gold tigre” with Berkley Fusion19 hooks. Said he would rip the lipless hard when the bite was strong and slowly pull the rod upwards when the bite was stingy. Used a standard “redfire crawdad” color in dirtier water, and switched back to the custom-painted “purple gold tigre” when it was clear.

2017 (mid Aug):

Dean Arnoldussen won with 75.13 lbs (10 fish), earning him an $85K payday. Said he spent 75% of his practice casting/jigging, but did end catching ’em trolling during the tourney:

> “I would troll with my Off Shore planer boards at 1.4-1.5 mph and the crankbaits would dig into the bottom. There was 80′ or 90′ of water and it came right up to 22′ with a mix of sand, gravel and zebra mussels. If you got in 18′, you would foul up and get clumps of zebra mussels.”

Said he was using purple (custom painted) #9 Berkley Flicker Minnows and 2-oz snap weights to get to bottom. #Works

2016 (end of Jun):

Danny “big bags” Woodke took home the $87K purse with 10 rock melons for 74.84 lbs. He was chuckin’ a Rapala Rippin’ Rap on 20-lb Sufix 832 braid with a 14-lb fluorocarbon leader:

> “They weren’t hungry — there were plenty of alewives around — so it was strictly a reaction bite. I don’t know why else they would bite. I think the key was literally putting that bait in front of their face and making them bite it.”

> Each day he ran north and hit 3 or 4 spots — all big rockpiles located in 10-15′. …would cast his Rippin’ Rap out as far as he could, then jig it back with a conventional lift-and-fall approach.

And Tom Keenan landed in 2nd — only caught 10 walleyes over 2 days, but they were the right bites = 69.23 lbs.

Caught ’em tossing — you guessed it — #7 Rapala Rippin’ Raps with his best colors being gold chrome, chrome moss back shiner and Helinski shad. Fished ’em on 20-lb Sufix 832 braid with a fluoro leader.

BUT…it’s shapin’ up to be won trolling this time around…I think…. Of course no one’s saying too much after day 1 of a 2-day tourney, but they’re saying just enough….

Sprengel’s leading the Green Bay NWT.


Surprise, surprise! Okay, not really. Korey “you know the name” Sprengel is no stranger to Green Bay — out of 5 NWT events there he’s NEVER finished lower than 13th place!

And now he’s leading after day 1 where he sacked-up 5 for 42.13 lbs:


He decided to deliberately target shorter, fatter walleyes instead of those true 30″ Green Bay giants, the type of fish John Hoyer won with last year:

> Sprengel: “I was realistically shooting for 35 lbs [yesterday] morning. When I got to my first area, I downgraded that…I thought maybe 30-35 was realistic. The northeast wind is the worst…. The wind just blows right down the bay — it brings cold water and cold current.”

He planned to fish slow and stay in the right area — waiting for a sign. His first fish came at 9am and although it was only 21″ (and was thrown back), it hit twice:

> “That was a sign that they would still bite for me today, so I threw it back. I knew if I could get a few bites I could figure them out. We’re allowed to keep 6 and weigh 5, so I only had 1 fish to play with. My 2nd was a 5.5-lber that we kept. Then I just started throwing back 5-lbers.

> “At 10:30, I caught a 30-incher right after catching and throwing back a 5.8. After that, it was like they would bite in pairs. I was getting 1 pair an hour or so, maybe a little better than that. At 12:20, I put my 6th fish in the box, and we were done. That was a 28-incher that weighed 7.7 lbs.”

Dude meticulously weighs every walleye he catches. Says time of year length alone can be misleading. The plump, healthy fish are likely the key to bringing home the title [today].

> “I wanted the 25- and 26-inchers that were 6.75-7.5 lbs. I got lucky today that they were both long and fat.

> “I never did cast today. I maybe should’ve casted, but I was getting bites, so I stuck with what I was doing. I wasn’t going to change until I got my 5.”

Wait until you see how shallow he was trolling:


Okay, not really lol…. That’s him and his co getting dialed-in before takeoff. But I have legit seen Sprengel fish spots/stuff that looked similar to that in the past…like bullrushes and “cane” on Lake Winnebago.

Said he plans to make the “not too long of a run” north again today, but he’s not as optimistic as you’d think:

> “The pattern itself is bulletproof, and it has nothing to do with the spot really either. I’ll try it, but I don’t think it’s going to hold up because the currents are going to change. Even if I have to change spots, my goal will be the same: 35 lbs. I’m not giant fishing…I’m not. Those fish are just not easy to catch yet. I’m targeting smaller, fatter fish that are feeding. Those can win it [today].”

Here’s a sneak peek at Sprengel on his way to weigh in today:


Some serious coin up for grabs — talking HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of $$$ (can you imagine??) so expect folks to be swinging for the fences. Can watch the live weigh-in on NWT’s Facebook page starting at 3pm CST or smash the refresh button on the live leaderboard.

[UPDATE: He weighed-in early today with 35.35 lbs and took home the win!]

High speed line-counters are a thing!

Have mentioned them once before (last summer), but thought I better hip ya to ’em again with the leadcore season comin’ in hot.

If you’ve ever run leadcore, you know cranking in 200+ feet of it to reset your bait is a time consuming thing = missed opportunities to cross paths with fish.

Been doing some research and found that most line-counter reels big enough to hold a full spool of lead have lower gear ratios of about 4.2:1…means you pull in roughly 24″ of line for every crank.

Okuma has what’s called a Cold Water High-Speed Wire Line Reel (CW-303DS) that has a 6.2:1 gear ratio…means you’re crankin’ in over 36″ of line with each turn of the handle, and look good doin’ it [smirk emoji]:

If my algebrateria (lol) is right, that’d be 33 LESS times you gotta crank to pull in 200′ of line. And if you’re running their bigger CW-453DS size — brings in 40″ of line per crank — that’d be 40 LESS times you gotta crank every…single…time you need to reel in 200′ of line.

Do you always have that much line out? Nope. But for sure adds up over the course of a day [!] and think about how much more time your bait will be in the water….

FishUSA was sold out, but just got 25 more of those Okuma CW-303DS in stock the other day…so wanted to give you a heads up.

“Mille Lacs Lake is the only place in the world where great fishing can be a problem.”

– That’s a quote from local Steve Johnson in this super interesting write-up talking about the current state of Mille Lacs Lake in MN.

Guy’s no stranger to the lake:

> “Our history here started with my late father, Mel Johnson, fishing Mille Lacs in the ’50s, a family cabin starting in ’72, and I have been a business owner here for over 35 years. I am also a current member of the Mille Lacs Lake Fisheries Advisory Council (MLFAC ). I hold an AA degree in Natural Resource Technology, so I understand the data and the language used.”

Few quotes below, but recommend reading the whole thing if you’re curious about what’s happenin’ at Mille Lacs, where walleye fishing is currently closed:

> “We have seen the natural cycle on this lake numerous times…about every 10 years — give or take — the lake will purge itself and get its population back into balance. Usually this would always include some harvest by anglers to reduce the population of walleyes and enhance the local economy.

> “Now the approach appears to be to conserve as many predators (walleye, northern pike, muskie and smallmouth) as possible and set unattainable and arbitrary goals that seem to do more harm than good.

> “I personally have never seen the lake so out of balance with an abundance of predators and lack of prey. Since the late ’90s, the management of the lake has changed, and in my opinion, not for the better. This has been proven once again as we are closed to walleye fishing for the month of July, and the area has endured many other unpopular and unnecessary restrictions in the recent past.

> “Two entities manage the lake: the MN DNR and the Great Lake Indian Fisheries and Wildlife Commission. This shared management idea, as I understand, was developed after the courts ruled that the 8 Chippewa/Ojibwe tribes of MN and WI had the right to harvest under their own set of rules. Still in question is who is in charge and makes the final call.

> “Some aspects of the agreement work, like the biologists that get to share information between the 2 agencies and the federal funding that continues to flow into the system to do more studies. This management agreement has certainly not put the lake in a healthy state. Some would argue that point because the lake is full of walleyes, and the bite is hot.

> “So what’s the problem? Answer: Balance.”

Keep reading here.


Well they’re pretty dang good and knicking/cutting up fishing line, so sorta makes sense:

> “…a group of color and material design students from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI has taken 2 invasive species of mussels and transformed them into a useful resource.

> “The design team…proposes using zebra and quagga mussels — invasive to the USA’s Great Lakes ecosystem — as a source of calcium carbonate and colorant in the creation of region specific soda lime glass. The project seeks to transform these species from an ecological threat to an over-abundant regional resource that can be harvested and used for artisanal and industrial glass and ceramic applications.”

Who’d uh-thunk.

2. OH: Masks now required on charter boats.

And also announced that:

> “…out-of-state anglers coming to fish for Lake Erie walleye must quarantine for 14 days at a home or hotel if they’re coming from states reporting positive Covid-19 testing rates of 15% or higher. Those states right now are AL, AZ, FL, GA, ID, MS, NV, SC and TX.”

3. Rapala’s business doubled during lockdown.

> “European e-commerce for the first 6 months doubled compared to the same period last year and the same was the case in the US despite the closure of our warehouses.”

4. Dunno where Greg Namie Jr got this…

…old-school Trilene trucker hat but I need one:

5. MN: Lake of the Woods county…

…is the ONLY county in the state without a confirmed case of Covid-19. Actually the only county in all of MN, WI or MI. Probably because there’s more walleyes than people….

6. DC: Congress passed Great American Outdoors Act.

Still needs President Trump’s signature, but here’s a few highlights:

> First, it fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund…program for conserving and maximizing outdoor recreation access. Second, the bill tackles the maintenance backlog on our public lands and waters by investing in boating infrastructure like docks, ramps and parking facilities.

7. Boaters want more cautions about E15 fuels.

> “E15 (fuel containing 15% ethanol) is prohibited by federal law for use in recreational boat engines and voids many marine engine warranties….

> “…54% of consumers in a recent Harris Poll believed that the small orange E15 fuel warning label on a gas station pump isn’t good enough to protect consumers. Poll respondents believe the label — about the size of a pack of gum — needs to be larger, clearer and mandatory on all gas station fuel-dispensing pumps.”

8. ON: Look at the size of this rusty crayfish…

…Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson found puked up in his livewell — a freakin’ 7-incher!

9. CA “euthanized” 3.2 mil trout.

> “Three CDFW fish hatchery facilities in the eastern Sierra and southern CA have been battling a bacterial [lactococcus garvieae] outbreak that has affected 3.2 million fish. This week — after consultation with fish pathology experts and exhausting all avenues of treatment — CDFW announced that the fish (all trout) at the affected facilities must be euthanized in order to stop the spread of the outbreak.”

Headline of the Day

It’s best nobody knows you know how to fish.

> “As a longtime MN angler, I am amazed at the number of anglers who strive to project an aura of expertise. What a mistake. The best way to enjoy a fishing trip with friends is to act incompetent….”

Gotta say, C.B. Bylander’s hilarious write-up does a pretty good job of breaking down all of the less-than-fun tasks he gets out of doing, and how he plays dumb to make that happen lol. Highlights

> Small garage probz, DIY line storage hacks, Best leadcore knot

> Special ICAST new-product issues: Part 1 and part 2.

> Walleyes that impress Al Lindner, Pike eats stringer, Leadcore starters

> Best sonar frequencies, DIY trailer fail, Prop wash walleye bite

Note: The FishUSA links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase we might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in TW.

Tip of the Day

How summer walleyes position on wingdams.

NWT pro Korey Sprengel talks how/when walleyes migrate to a wingdam, and where they position on ’em in this quick video from The Next Bite. It’s incredible how much knowledge he can drop in 60 secs:


Lots of walleye guys prefer “bass-style crankbaits” — like Berkley Diggers and Dredgers — when fishing wingdams because they do a better job of getting down quickly and can be easier to cast.

Seems like there’s also something special about that wobble….

Meme of the Day

All those late nights and early mornings sure can catch up on a guy/gal:


**chugs coffee**

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Diggin’ this shot from IG’s @dekes_waterfowl. Picture-in-picture isn’t just for football games:

Sign up another fish-head!

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Target Walleye — walleye during open water and all species during hardwater — is brought to you by Al and Ron Lindner, Jim Kalkofen, Brett McComas and other diehard fish-nuts like you! #fishheads
Brett McComas is the main man for Target Walleye He was discovered in Brainerd, MN after years of wondering how in the heck people break into the fishing biz. He’s in it now, but still can’t answer that question…. Brett is one of those guys who majored in marketing, only because there was no such thing as a “fishing degree” at the time…. Get him at 
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